Tuesday 16 January 2018

'Champagne Killer' Karl Breen found dead from 'drugs overdose'

Conor Feehan and Ken Foy

Dublin criminal gang leader Karl Breen has been found dead from a suspected drugs overdose at an apartment in Finglas.

The grim discovery was made by Breen’s sister and her partner who had to break into the property at around 11pm yesterday when there was no answer at the door or from the killer’s phone.

The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

Breen was released from prison last year after serving seven years of a nine-year sentence for the manslaughter of his friend, Martin McLoughlin, on January 1, 2006 at Jurys Croke Park Hotel.

The 34 year-old father-of-three was dubbed the ‘Champagne Killer’ because he had ordered a bottle of the drink before fatally stabbing McLoughlin.

Before being jailed Breen ruled the Clondalkin-based Infamous D22 drug gang.

Read more: Gardai in search for ‘Champagne Killer’ Karl Breen

Karl Breen in an image on a Facebook account
Karl Breen in an image on a Facebook account
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

Ever since his release he has been lying low in hotels and apartments having fallen out with many key members of the Dublin crime scene.

He would periodically post pictures of himself on his Facebook page, gesturing as if to taunt gardai or his enemies and rivals.

Karl Breen in an image on a Facebook account
Karl Breen in an image on a Facebook account

But sources say Breen was becoming increasingly paranoid about his safety and his own security arrangements especially in recent weeks and had barricaded himself in the apartment.

The only people who knew where he lived at any particular time were close family who he was in regular contact with.

The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)
The scene of the discovery of a man's body at the Tolka Vale Apartments (Block 1) (Photo: Kyran O'Brien)

He had spoken with relatives on Sunday afternoon but it was yesterday that the lines of communication ceased and they started to worry.

By nightfall they were so concerned about Breen that they went looking for him.

Read more here: Karl Breen found guilty of killing pal in hotel brawl

They went to the apartment at Block 1 in the Tolka Vale complex on the Finglas Road and broke in when they got no response at around 11pm.

Breen was found dead inside but there were no signs of foul play and senior sources say that they are satisfied that he died from a drugs overdose.

It is understood that tablets were found in the apartment.

A window on the ground floor of Block 1 could be seen to have been shattered, possibly by a fire extinguisher which a resident brought back in from the doorway this morning after finding it had been taken from its station.

Other residents said they did not know Breen and were shocked to see gardai at the apartment complex at around 4am.

Sources say that they are not treating the death as suspicious but are carrying out a preliminary investigation on a procedural basis.

Gardai maintained a discreet presence at the apartment this morning pending the arrival of members of the technical bureau who arrived at 9am.

An ambulance from Dublin City Morgue than arrived at 10.15am.

Read more here: Karl Breen jailed for nine years for killing friend during champagne and cocaine party

Sources say that at its peak,  between 2004 and 2007, Breen’s gang were one of the biggest heroin trafficking gangs in Dublin and were linked to at least three gangland murders in the capital.

The bitter west Dublin feud between Breen’s notorious ‘D22’ gang and the Clondalkin based gang known as ‘The Family’ led to numerous pipe bomb and gun attacks between 2006 and 2010 which culminated in the gun murder of gang enforcer Pierce Reid in August, 2009.

The murder of Reid – who was considered Breen’s right-hand-man weakened the mob and the ‘D22’ gang are no longer major players in the capital’s underworld.

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